Since starting Beauty In Color, I’ve had some great conversations with people about their skin goals and skin struggles. And during these conversations, common themes come up repeatedly.
So, I want to share five common skincare mistakes many people make without realizing it. Understanding these mistakes will help you make better choices in keeping your skin as healthy as possible. Avoiding some of these common mistakes have definitely made a difference for me!
NOT WASHING YOUR FACE PROPERLY
Washing your face is one of the most simple and effective ways to achieve healthier and more radiant skin.
Properly cleaning your face removes makeup, oil, dirt, and other debris. And leaving that build-up on your skin can trap debris in your pores, and prevent other products from doing their job. No wonder why cleansing is one of the most important steps in your skincare routine.
Now, although this idea of cleansing your face sounds simple enough, the truth is, most people don’t wash their faces properly at night. And proper face cleansing can dramatically improve your skin!
Everyone should double cleanse at night! Even if you don’t wear makeup, you’re probably wearing sunscreen. And I believe oils are the best way to remove sunscreen and makeup.
The oil cleanse, or first cleanse in the double-cleansing process, gently draws out makeup, SPF, and environmental pollutants! Since oil and water don’t mix, water-based cleansers aren’t as good at removing oil-based debris. Then, I follow up with a gel or cream cleanser to remove sweat and dirt.
Now, if you aren’t wearing makeup or sunscreen, I think cleansing once can be sufficient.
STOP USING THE SAME FACE TOWEL
Your face towel might look clean, but it can collect a lot of dirt, makeup, oil, and dead skin cells that you can’t even see.
Towels retain moisture for long periods of time, which allows the bacteria to survive. And, they’re used in the bathroom, one of the most germ-ridden areas of the house. So, I always like to use a clean face towel when I wash my face.
I use Clean Towels from Clean Skin Club. They’re disposable face towels that I can dampen to remove my cleanser. I love the softness, size, and durability of them. I also love that I can remove the cleanser off my face and neck…and wipe up the water residue around my sink without the towel ever disintegrating! And they’re biodegradable! Check out my review here.
Even if you don’t use the Clean Towels, make sure to use a clean washcloth…or paper towel if you don’t have a washcloth available.
DON’T RELY ON FACE WIPES
Face wipes really can’t thoroughly cleanse your face. I mean, they’re certainly better than not washing your face at all, but they don’t cleanse as well as double cleansing and are harsher on the skin.
Here are a few cleansing products I use & recommend:
- Holifrog Superior Omega Nutritive Gel Wash Cleanser (reviewed in this blog post)
- First Aid Beauty Pure Skin Face Cleanser
- Allies of Skin Molecular Silk Amino Hydrating Cleanser (reviewed here and in this blog post)
- AbsoluteJOI Hydrating Gel (reviewed in this blog post)
- Deviant Skincare Cleansing Concentrate
- Holifrog Kissimmee Vitamin F Therapy Balmy Wash (reviewed in this blog post)
- Clean Towels (use my code “BEAUTYINCOLOR” for 20% off your purchase)
NOT EXFOLIATING PROPERLY
Most of us need help removing dead skin cells that accumulate on the surface layer of our skin. When you don’t exfoliate, dead skin cells and oil can get trapped in your pores. And this can lead to congestion, blackheads, and rough skin texture. Dead skin cell build-up can also prevent your products from penetrating as well.
Exfoliating removes those dead cells from the skin’s surface, resulting in a smoother, more even-toned complexion.
Many people either don’t exfoliate enough or over-exfoliate. So, its important to find the right exfoliators for you and not use them too frequently.
I prefer to use chemical exfoliants over physical ones for that reason. I tend to be too aggressive with physical exfoliants, so I prefer acid toners, serums, and maybe an enzyme cleanser.
START WITH ENZYMES
Enzymes can offer a gentler, no-sting exfoliation suitable for more sensitive skin types.
Enzymes break down dead skin cells to reveal smoother skin. But, enzymes work more on the surface of the skin while other chemical exfoliants get deeper into the skin’s barrier.
CONSIDER GENTLER EXFOLIATORS
If you have sensitive skin, you should use gentle exfoliators that won’t irritate you. I’ve had great results with mandelic and lactic acids. Glycolic and salicylic acid formulations can be more harsh and irritating unless they contain soothing ingredients to calm and moisturize the skin.
WATCH FOR IRRITATION
Pay close attention to how your skin reacts when you exfoliate. Some people can handle using exfoliants more frequently than others. I, personally, don’t recommend exfoliating more then 2-3/week, especially if your skin is sensitive.
Over-exfoliating can strip your skin’s barrier and irritate your skin. And I’m sad to say that it happens to be the most frequent skin mistake I make!
It’s easy to do since exfoliating provides more immediate results. Like most of us, once we see results, we continue to do them. But, when you over-exfoliate, you can strip your skin, leaving it irritated and sensitized.
Again, I also prefer to use chemical exfoliants over physical ones for that reason. I know my Clarisonic is pictured here, but I honestly haven’t used it in a while. I tend to be too aggressive with physical exfoliants, so I tend to use chemical exfoliants in the form of acid toners, serums, and maybe an enzyme cleanser.
Here are a few exfoliating products I use & recommend:
- Biologique Recherche’s P50V 1970 (reviewed here)
- Pestle & Mortar NMF Lactic Acid Toner
- Pestle & Mortar Exfoliate Acid Toner
- Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant
- Allies of Skin Mandelic Pigmentation Corrector Night Serum
- Dr. Barbara Sturm Darker Skin Tones Enzyme Cleanser (reviewed here)
NOT HYDRATING AND MOISTURIZING YOUR SKIN PROPERLY
Although they’re often used interchangeably, hydration and moisturization is not the same thing.
Both are key in providing your skin with much-needed nourishment, but knowing the difference between them will help you make the best choice when targeting your skin’s specific needs.
Hydrating products add water to the skin and help to trap water in the skin. Moisturizing products actually improve the skin by decreasing water loss.
START WITH A HUMECTANT ON DAMP SKIN
I believe everyone, no matter your skin type, can benefit from a humectant. Humectants increase your skin’s moisture levels. And more moisture directly correlates to smoother and plumper skin.
Humectants are also a great way to keep oily skin hydrated without adding more oil to it and amping up moisture in dry skin.
LAYER ON AN EMOLLIENT
Emollients help keep the skin generally healthy by replenishing your skin’s barrier to smooth and soften it.
As you all know, I’m a big fan of layering products. Layering is the key to locking in moisture. By applying an emollient after your humectant, you’ll lock in the additional hydration, instead of letting it escape and take more of your skin’s water.
Consider using a facial oil on top of (but not in place of your moisturizer)
While facial oils can be great at soothing dry and irritated skin, they’re usually not enough to replace a standard moisturizer.
Here are a few humectants and moisturizers I use & recommend:
- Paula’s Choice Hyaluronic Acid Booster
- Pestle & Mortar Cosmetics Pure Hyaluronic Serum
- Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum
- NIOD Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex
- Good Science Beauty 003-Hy Hydrating Face Cream (get 25% off using my discount code “BEAUTYINCOLOR” at checkout)
- BeautyStat Universal Pro-Bio Moisture Boost Cream
- Youth To The People Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream with Ashwagandha + Reishi (reviewed here)
- First Aid Beauty Ultra Moisturizing Cream
- Dr. Barbara Sturm Darker Skin Tones Face Cream
APPROACHING SUN PROTECTION ALL WRONG
Protecting your skin from further sun damage allows it to look younger and healthier. With a liberal daily application, you will see fewer signs of aging and significantly cut your risk of skin cancer.
Honestly, no single factor is more important in preventing aging than avoiding excess sun exposure! UV light breaks down the elastin and collagen in your skin, causing discoloration, skin thinning and sagging…and ultimately wrinkles. So, sun protection should be a daily part of skincare. And you need to wear a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher.
But, so many people don’t consistently wear sunscreen unless they are on the beach or by the pool!
PICK A SUNSCREEN THAT YOU’RE COMFORTABLE WEARING
There are so many types of sunscreens available that it can be confusing to make a choice. And one of the most controversial topics is whether to use physical or chemical sunscreen.
Evidence shows physical and chemical sunscreens are effective at preventing UV damage when applied correctly. So, it’s crucial just to find a sunscreen you enjoy wearing so that you wear enough of it every day.
PRACTICE GOOD SUN SAFETY
A common mistake people make is not reapplying their sunscreen. But sweat, water, and natural degradation happen over time, so you must reapply every few hours for adequate protection.
It’s also common for people not to put on enough sunscreen because they don’t like the texture of the sunscreen, or the formula is not easy to apply without leaving a white cast or it taking forever to rub in. But DON’T! You should be using AT LEAST a nickel-sized dollop of sunscreen on your face alone.
REMEMBER TO REMOVE YOUR SUNSCREEN
Although UV filters degrade when exposed to sunlight, it doesn’t mean that your sunscreen has completely come off your face. And UV filters aren’t the only ingredients in your sunscreen. Sunscreens also contain emollients, preservatives, thickeners, to name a few.
Some of those ingredients can cling to your skin long after the sun protection’s gone so you need to get those off if you want your products to penetrate deep into your skin.
So, no matter what, make sure to double cleanse at night and get that sunscreen off your face before going to bed!
Here are a few sunscreens I use & recommend:
- Paula’s Choice Youth Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid (reviewed here) has been my favorites for over a year now
- LaRoche Posay Toleraine Double Repair Face Moisturizer (This was included in my Summer Skincare Routine)
- Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen (reviewed here)
- Habit Skincare N°41 Mister (I talked about this mister recently on Instagram here. Get $4 off your purchase using my discount code “DANA4HABIT” at checkout.)
- Tula Protect & Glow (I’m new to this one, but I have positive first impressions. Get 15% off your purchase using my discount code “BEAUTYINCOLOR” at checkout.)
Unfortunately, technology (lighting, cameras, photoshop, filters, etc.) has made it easy for us to have unrealistic expectations of our skincare regimens. And unrealistic expectations can make you obsess over skin imperfections instead of appreciating incremental improvements.
You can absolutely see results from a consistent skincare regimen using safe and effective products. You CAN lighten age spots, decrease the look of fine lines and wrinkles, and get rid of redness and acne. You CAN have glowing, healthy skin. But, you won’t look photoshopped in person. Not even models on magazine covers look that way in real life!
So, when your complexion’s not where you want it to be, seeing images of flawless, ageless, poreless faces can be discouraging. But, it’s important to focus on being the best you, not some unrealistic expectation.
RECOGNIZE THE ILLUSION
As I’ve said before, social media can be a gift and a curse. It’s important to know that most celebrities take advantage of makeup, lighting, angles, filters, and photoshop, to make their complexion look better than it may actually be! So, don’t compare yourself to others and focus on being the best you.
TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
Perfection is not realistic, but you CAN strive for the best version of YOUR skin. I’ve found it helpful to take pictures to track incremental skin improvements. I most recently looked at my two most recent passports. And you can’t tell which is actually the most recent. I think that’s a win!
FOCUS ON GETTING HEALTHIER
Skincare products can only do so much, and they certainly can’t make up for an unhealthy lifestyle.
Your skin reflects your diet, sleeping habits, stress (or lack thereof), and lifestyle choices. So, make sure you focus on your health as you invest in your skincare journey to get the best results.
Need more help with your skin?
What do you think are your worst skincare mistakes?
Have you experienced any of the mistakes I mentioned here?
What has made the most significant improvement to your skin?